Hi everyone! This week's chapter shows Rosalie's first encounter with the golden cross; it seems to me that initially, Esme would have been Rosalie's only reason for staying with the Cullens—she hated Carlisle for turning her into a vampire, and she didn't like Edward much either, but I feel like her relationship with Esme was the one thing she was glad to have in her new life. Thanks as always for your reviews; I'm always amazed and flattered when people take the time to read every chapter of a story that's gotten this long, so thanks to everyone who keeps reading! I've got a couple more chapters like this one, and then we'll get back to some Carlisle and Esme fluff, so stay tuned. :) See you next week!
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer is the author of "Twilight," and I'm really looking forward to seeing "Breaking Dawn" Part 2 again; I kind of want to see it in theaters one more time, so I need to try and make that happen (maybe next weekend?)
After killing Royce and his almost equally loathsome friends, Rosalie had gone back to the Cullens. She wasn't exactly sure why, except that she couldn't go home to her family, she didn't particularly want to find other vampires to socialize with, and because Esme at least had seemed like someone Rosalie wouldn't mind getting to know. So, she'd gone back to them in a tattered wedding dress and no one had asked any questions; Esme had drawn her a bath and brought her a change of clothes, and then she'd retired to the room that had been designated as hers.
For a few days after her return, she stayed in her room and lay on the bed she no longer needed, staring up at the ceiling and wishing that she could sleep for a thousand years. When she woke up, maybe she would be someone new, someone who didn't remember how her life had ended. Or maybe it would be better still to go to sleep and never wake up...
Esme was the only one who visited her, for which she was grateful. Though she hated the idea of Edward rummaging around in her head, he could apparently hear that if anyone else came into her room, she would likely throw them out the window. Esme brought her clothes she thought she might like, or books she might like to read, and though she largely ignored these offerings, she was touched by Esme's persistence. Rosalie's favorite times were when Esme simply came in and sat with her. She didn't say a word, she just sat in the chair beside the bed, and Rosalie sometimes felt like she was a little girl again, in bed with a fever while her mother watched over her.
"...why do you keep coming in here, every day?" Rosalie finally asked, rolling over to face Esme after she'd been sitting silently for nearly an hour one sunny morning. "How do you know I'm not always going to feel this wretched about my miserable excuse for a life?"
"Well, for one thing, you're finally talking again," Esme said with a gentle smile. "If you were really going to be miserable forever, I don't think you'd bother asking me any questions. And it wouldn't matter to you one way or another if I came in here. But you don't mind, do you? I mean, if you minded, you could have easily thrown me out by now."
"I wouldn't do that," Rosalie muttered. "You're...this isn't your fault."
"It isn't yours either, Rosalie," Esme said quietly. "Which is why I know that eventually, you're going to leave this room and try to have a life again. And I'll be ready whenever you are, to help however I can."
Rosalie didn't speak, but clearly her expression told Esme everything she needed to know. Without a word, Esme sat down on the bed and pulled Rosalie into a fierce hug, and then Rosalie couldn't stop, she cried for what felt like hours, wishing that she could still feel the cathartic sensation of tears. Rosalie had never cried like this, not when she was a girl and she'd had a bad dream, or when she'd been older and a classmate had died in an accident. She had never felt as terrible as she did right now...because Royce was dead, and she wasn't. She'd killed him because she'd hated him, but revenge hadn't brought her the peace she'd hoped for. Rosalie had broken him far more easily than he'd broken her...but Esme's horrible husband had put the pieces of her back together. Now, she had to try and live with what had happened, live with the creature she'd become, and she wondered if she would have even tried, if it hadn't been for Esme.
Finally, she pulled away. "I'm not speaking to either of them," she said, expecting her voice to be shaky, but of course it was as strong as ever, even after all her sobs. "I'll...I'll come downstairs sometimes, but I don't want to talk with them."
"Okay," Esme said. "I'll tell them."
Rosalie made a face. "Why bother? I'm sure Edward will hear it before he even enters the house tonight."
"They care about you too, you know," Esme said gently, pushing back a bit of Rosalie's hair.
Rosalie scowled. "I irritate Edward, and—and I'm not going to say the other one's name, even if he is your husband."
Esme smiled a little. "That's okay. You can just call him "your husband" when you mention him to me, and I won't mind."
"I'm thirsty," Rosalie announced with a grimace, getting off the bed and looking in her closet for new clothes—she'd been wearing her current dress for days. "Let's go hunting tonight. And then I suppose we'll have to move, since we can't risk anyone from Rochester seeing me."
"We're already looking for a new house," Esme said, standing up too. "It never takes long to settle in somewhere new. You should help us look, so you'll be sure to like the place."
Rosalie snorted as she examined a new dress. "I won't "like" any place, but I suppose I can help choose a house I won't hate." Turning, she looked at Esme. "I should take a shower. My hair's starting to smell. But don't think I'm coming downstairs until it's dark. I mean it—just because I'm tired of staying in bed all day doesn't mean I think I have anything worth getting up for. It's just—I'd rather be doing something than be bored and miserable all the time."
Esme smiled warmly. "Well, I can certainly help with that. We can sew, read, go shopping—oh, I almost forgot."
Rosalie rolled her eyes. "I thought vampires never forgot anything."
"They don't," Esme said, pulling something out of her apron pocket. "But it's a useful expression—it makes us seem more human. Here."
Esme offered Rosalie a small golden necklace. "A cross?" Rosalie wondered. "I'm not religious, you know—not anymore."
"Neither am I, really," Esme admitted. "I like the art and I like some of the sentiments, but otherwise, I doubt that Christianity is for me anymore. But this was the first piece of jewelry I had after starting this new life, and I want you to have it, if only to tide you over until we can get you some things that are more to your taste."
Rosalie hesitated, looking at the necklace. "If it's important to you, then why are you giving it to me when I don't even care about the sentiment behind it?"
"Because you're important to me now, Rosalie, and this is what friends do. We give each other gifts, some of them not what the receiver really wants, to try and show how much we care. It's never enough really, but I know that you're trying your best to start over, so I guess I want this to remind you that I'm going to try hard too. If we make an effort, Rosalie, then…well, dying doesn't have to be the end. Maybe you can find a new kind of life, even like this."
Rosalie hesitated, but then she nodded and lifted her hair away from the back of her neck. "Will you put it on for me?"
Standing with her back to Esme, she smiled a little at their reflections in the mirror beside the dressing table when she saw the golden cross around her neck. She was beautiful now, even with her hair a mess after days of lying in bed. And she and Esme were going to be friends, and try to do their best for each other. It wasn't the life she'd wanted, but perhaps it would be better than having no life at all.
Well, maybe someday I'll really feel that way, Rosalie thought grimly. Until I do though, I'll at least make an effort to pretend. For her sake.